Rogge defends Olympic track changes
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rogge defends Olympic track changes

by Ben Atkins at 12:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge today defended the UCI's decision to cut the program of Olympic track cycling. The new programme, to come into effect for the 2012 Games in London, sees cycling lose the individual pursuit, the points race and the Madison. The three lost events will be replaced by an Omnium.

The changes were introduced after pressure from the IOC for gender parity in cycling events, but it also made it clear that no more medals were available in order to keep athlete levels down. In Beijing the men competed for seven medals but the women just three, these changes will see both sexes compete for five each.

"The decision to change the programme of track cycling at the Olympics, came to make the sport more attractive,” said Rogge in Belgian newspaper De Morgen. “Smaller and more dynamic numbers so that we can bring better images."

Track cycling is one of the main areas where Belgium – Rogge’s native country – would have a chance to earn medals in London, leading to some direct criticism. One rider in particular, six-day rider Kenny De Ketele, has said that the programme changes – particularly the loss of the Madison – could have disastrous effects on cycling. Rogge had a simple answer to De Ketele and others like him:

"Why shouldn’t he excel in the Omnium?” Rogge asked. “There are five events [six, actually since the International Cycling Union’s (UCI’s) changes announced last week], is that the death of the sport?"

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